A court has ruled that a Massachusetts woman convicted of animal cruelty can keep a dead dog and cat, as long as she complies with health codes.
Heidi Erickson was charged in May 2005 with animal cruelty to five cats and a dog. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the cruelty to cats and 90 days for cruelty to the dog.
During her pending case, a judge ordered that her six pets be returned to her. During that time, four cats were living, while one cat and the dog were dead.
The city of Boston challenged the judge’s order, and after Erickson was convicted, the city forgo its challenge the order to return her living animals to Erickson, but continued to challenge the order of returning the dead animals to her.
In 2005, a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Erickson could keep her dead animals if she arranged for the “prompt and proper disposal” of them “in compliance with health codes.”
She appealed the ruling saying that she should not be forced to dispose of her pets.
On Thursday, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the ruling in 2005 meant that she does not have to discard or destroy the animals, but “that whatever she does with them, including keeping them, she must comply with all applicable health codes.”
Erickson said that she is innocent of the animal cruelty charges and she has filed an appeal of her case.
Source: Boston Globe